Air New Zealand announced its five-year fleet investments, capacity recovery from the pandemic, and marketing plans at TRENZ 2023, an international business-to-business travel trade event held in Te Pae, Christchurch, New Zealand.
The airline said that part of its NZD 3.5 billion ($2.2 billion) investment is the purchase of eight new 787-9 Dreamliners and five Airbus A320neo aircraft to add more seats on the trans-Tasman and Pacific Island services
14 of the airline’s B787 Dreamliner aircraft will undergo interior refurbishment, which will include the new Business Premiere Luxe cabins and Skynest sleep pods. Retrofit work is expected to commence in 2024.
Air NZ also said that it is in final negotiations to secure one more Boeing 777-300ER, which could add 3,000 more seats per week to the airline’s international network.
If finalized, the new aircraft would bring the airline’s total 777-300 fleet to eight.
“We’re proud to be making this investment in our fleet and in the future of air travel. Investing in new and retrofitted aircraft will help us attract even more premium leisure customers from the Pacific Rim to New Zealand, boosting the growth of our tourism industry,” Air New Zealand chief executive officer Greg Foran said in a statement.
The airline said that its international network capacity is back to about 91% of pre-COVID levels and that bookings are “steady”.
Air New Zealand’s North American network is looking promising after alliance partner United Airlines announced new routes to Auckland Airport (AKL) and Christchurch Airport (CHC) from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
While it described its capacity for North America as “close” to pre-COVID levels, Air NZ’s capacity on its Asia network is at 117% of pre-COVID levels, with Singapore remaining a key hub, particularly for connecting to India and Europe.
The Chinese market is slowly rebuilding, and Air China, another of the airline’s alliance partners, has resumed has restarted its Beijing to Auckland route. Capacity on Air New Zealand’s trans-Tasman and Pacific Island network is also nearing pre-COVID levels.
Commitment to New Zealand tourism
Air New Zealand is also investing NZD 30 million ($20 million) in marketing campaigns for this financial year to support inbound tourism for the country.
“We know it’s not just about bringing overseas visitors to New Zealand but also giving them plenty of options to explore around Aotearoa New Zealand. Our significant capacity increases across our international and domestic network, coupled with our marketing investment, will help to showcase New Zealand to the world and attract more quality visitors to our shores,” Foran said.
The airline said that it is continuing to rebuild its offshore sales and marketing teams and has been steadily elevating its brand in key offshore markets.
Due to the two countries’ close proximity, Australians remain New Zealand’s top tourist visitors (about 45% pre-pandemic), while Mainland China, the United States and the United Kingdom are the next top three.